Finding my way through polymer clay!

I am a polymer clay artist on the coast of California. I am inspired by the shapes and colors of nature, especially the beauty you find in or near the ocean.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Soooo. I need flowers. In a big way!  I am doing silk ribbon corsage bracelets as my "main event" for the craft fair, and need to get my rear in gear!  So, here are 3 excellent flower tutorials.  Do one, or do them all!  They are all lovely and I hope to make some stunning flowers :)

"Spotted Langloisia " cane from Desiree's Creations:

Zuleykha's petal / flower tutorials:

And Ponsawan Sila's Daisy Cane:
If you want your version(s) posted along with mine and/or if you want to be added to the email list to be sent reminders, please email me  (and a small caption  with the photo of your project if you so desire) no later than November 28th at 6:00pm PST.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Faux Ceramic - Results!

I loved doing this. So easy, and you can make a lot of different looks all at once.  I ended up making 2 batches and these will be part of my craft fair wares in December. Some of them came out much better than others, but that is to be expected with learning new techniques.

Here is a shot of the blanks before adding the color:

And here are the first batch after coloring, baking and varnish:

This one is my favorite and will most likely stay with me.  So pretty!

Progress shot of a few in the second batch.  You can also see all the colors I used - which is only about half of the alcohol inks I actually own.

I learned that alcohol inks, when baked, lose a lot of their richness, but it does come back somewhat with the varnish.  I also got some really neat ideas for using color on other pieces with dyed liquid clay.

This is a super easy project.  And it was great for me who has been in a SERIOUS creative slump for a couple months now.  I often don't even feel like touching clay and would rather just play Warcraft than get all my clay gear out. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Faux Ceramic from Polymerclayweb- Due October 22

The Holiday Craft Fair is fast approaching, and I need some new stock!  I have several ideas for some pendants and bracelets, but I am looking to learn some new finishing techniques.  Hence the tutorial I have chosen for this round: the Faux Ceramic look found on  Polymer Clay Web, here.

The look that is achieved with this is so pretty and delicate. I am a real fan!  I envision using my own textures with this technique. We will see how that goes...

If you want your version posted along with mine and/or if you want to be added to the email list to be sent reminders, please email me  (and a small caption  with the photo of your project if you so desire) no later than Friday October 22nd at 6:00pm PST. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Results!! Maggie Maggio's Split Ring Chains

I haven't been feeling to terribly creative lately, so this was the perfect project. I didn't even need to mix colors as I had a palette leftover and sitting in a baggie doing nothing that I decided to use. 

The tutorial is perfectly done. And the addition of the worksheet is simply brilliant!  No need for a ruler or anything. 

I made 1 of each size rings just so I could see how each turned out (the are the red ones you can barely see in the image below), but then did all the rest in the medium size.  I took the time to make striped skinner blends and use them on a mud core... but of course I made the stripes too small and it all ended up being rolled and I lost the effect entirely =( You can't even tell in these pics!  When I realized that happened, I just mushed my remaining clay and did a simple twist.

And here they are made into quite the bulky bracelet.

My impressions of this technique: it's really cool.  The rings are a little springier then what I was expecting, though. Maybe if I baked longer or used a harder clay like Kato (I use Premo) they would feel sturdier.  They are not my style, but I am really glad that I learned how to do it, as I can forsee using one of these split rings as an element in a design, just not the entirety of the design.

And finally, we need more tutorials like this one!  Maggie Maggio has done a great thing by providing this free tutorial.  I do have her book too and it's fantastic!

Stay tuned for the next tutorial post!  I am trying to do my monthly PCGOE challenge just now, so it may be a few days before I put up my next post.

Until then...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Maggie Maggio's Split Ring Chains - Due Monday September 20

This project just came through my reader today and I am in LOOOOOOOVE.  How fun are these split rings!  It seems like you can make so many things with them.  And how lucky are we that not only is there a VIDEO tutorial, but a downloadable worksheet that Maggie is supplying to her readers?

The tutorial and the spreadsheet are both available on Maggie's blog, here.

Here is a picture of the finished project as posted on Polymer Clay Daily which is where I saw the project in the first place.

This should be a lot of fun and I look forward to seeing what everyone does with this. 

If you want your version posted along with mine and/or if you want to be added to the email list to be sent reminders, please email me  (and a small caption  with the photo of your project if you so desire) no later than Monday September 20th at 6:00pm PST.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

PCAGOE September Challenge Voting - win beatiful prizes!

I entered my piece from the "Donna Kato Transfers" craft-a-long in the September Challenge for the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy, which I recently joined.

I want to encourage my readers to go and vote! The coolest part, YOU the voters get entered into a pool to win prizes, just for casting your vote!  Look at the pool of prize items, made by other PCAGOE members:

Pretty neat, huh?

Please go now and visit and cast your vote.  You can also read about the rules of the challenge, and have a closer look at the prize pool.  As you will see, my entry is down at the bottom, #20!


Results: Image Transfers by Donna Kato

Well, image transfers are really fun, and I can see how they can be used to really spruce up items, or can be used as the jumping off point for a larger design, which is what I did.

I ended up using 4 different tutorials I found on the web, and 1 tutorial that was given to me as part of the PCAGOE Challenge. I did a combination of all of the different ways to do transfers.  I ended up ruining a LOT of clay.  I think I did about 20 transfers before my frustration level went through the roof and I just "settled" on the one I used, which thankfully also was the best of the bunch as it turns out.

One big lesson I learned... don't make a bunch of transfers and then leave it overnight. It becomes a sticky ugly mess!

Here is my final piece:

 And, here is a close up of the details on the transfer itself:

When you look at the full size all the way blown up, you can see I get each dot of ink. I seriously took ages sloooowly and gently getting the paper off of this transfer.  And I HATE pruny fingers so this was really a labor of love.

Sadly, once again I was alone on the craft-along.  Come on people! This is good times!

Now, as I mentioned, I chose this tutorial craft along to work in conjunction with a challenge I was entering as part of the September Challenge at PCAGOE.  I will be making another post shortly with more details, but if you just can't wait, go here to vote!  I bet #20 looks familiar...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Image Transfers by Donna Kato - Due Monday August 30

Hi Everyone!

For this tutorial craft along, I wanted to double up with a challenge I am doing for the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy of which I am the newest member.  Since I am learning new techniques for this month's challenge (image transfers) you can learn with me!

I have found a great tutorial on how to do the image transfer technique on Craftedu put out by none other than the famous Donna Kato!  Watch the tutorial here:

There are lots of image transfer tutorials out there, both on YouTube and on craft websites and blogs.  They all give the same basic directions.

Have fun!

If you want your version posted along with mine, please email me your photo (and a small caption if you so desire) no later than Monday August 30th at 6:00pm PST.  I'll update a post with results on Tuesday the 31st!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Results: Ponsawan Sila's Texture Plate & Bubble Beads

Well folks, I gave it a good shot.  And I gotta say, I found this series quite frustrating.  And I wasted a ton of clay.  It was a seemingly simple concept, but there are little tricks and things that must be obvious to the author of the tutorial which were not at all obvious to me.  The first set of texture plates I made I guess I didn't make deep enough because the resulting "bubbles" didn't come out too hot:

I also failed to follow the directions on the thickness to make the clay sheet layers which probably added to the fail. Nothing to brag about, right?  So I made a second bubble texture plate with deeper impressions and tried again. It came out only marginally better.

Another problem with this tut was the part where we had to "carefully slice off the bubbles one by one".  But with the bubbles so close together, I found I would end up slicing adjacent ones thereby screwing them up.  I think this is the point where I gave up, at least mentally. I bullied through though as I wouldn't be a very good hostess if I didn't complete my own projects, right?

I opted to make a cuff bracelet instead of a bead for the end product.  I wanted the knobby texture, which I thought looked neato for a bangle so I didn't slice of the bubbles low and I didn't flatten out the sheet when I was done slicing as they appear on the original tut.

I actually like the bangle.  However, the size of my wrist is not conducive to a cuff, and I didn't realize that the heat of your arm would make the cuff flexible while you wore it (Donna Kato has a great tutorial about adding wire armature to cuffs to avoid this bending issue -- which of course I found after I was done).  So this cuff is headed for the bin!

I made a couple of other texture plates while I was at it. I don't know if I will use these ever, but that remains to be seen.

My biggest gripe, besides the problems with the execution, was that this same pattern / texture could have easily been made just doing a simple bulls-eye cane.  I thought of this while in the midst of frustration.  I sure wish I had realized it beforehand.  Oh well.

Sadly nobody else did the tutorial this time around.  I hope I have others for the next one!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ponsawan Sila's Texture Plate & Bubble Beads - Due Aug 18

I am going out of town this weekend (wearing my bangles from last weeks challenge at a wedding!)  so decided to do a double tutorial with a 2-week due date.

Both of these tutorials come from Ponsawan Sila's tutorial blog.  She makes the most lovely items and is so generous to put her tutorials out freely!

The first tutorial is the slide show below - make your own texture plates.  I think this is such a valuable and MONEY SAVING skill all of us polyclay artists need to learn.  I am going to use this tutorial to make myself the bubble texture plate Ponsawan uses in the second tutorial - Bubble Beads.

If you don't feel like making bubbles, this seems like a thing where you can make any shape for the texture plate and apply the plate design you create in the second tutorial so please feel free to make any sort of beads you feel! - I look forward to seeing Birdy Beads or Swirly Beads or Squiggle Beads or Flowery Beads if you so desire.  Have fun!  I know I will!

The texture plate tutorial (also embedded below):

The bubble beads
Find the tutorial here:

If you want your version posted along with mine, please email me your photo (and a small caption if you so desire) no later than Wednesday August, 18 th at 6:00pm PST.  I'll update a post with results on Thursday the 19th!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Results - Quick Bracelet Sets

These were super easy and came out really cool.  The advent of this post also sparked a discussion about alternatives to Pearl-Ex powder on the Craftster forums.

When I set out to make the bracelets, I wasn't as interested in the surface techniques as I was in the idea of 1) using a soda can and 2) making the bangles follow the same line so you could wear multiples together like puzzle pieces (although, I did make one using a stamp and Pearl-Ex just in the spirit of the tutorial)

I am also very happy to say that I have folks interested in participating! 

Onto the results!  For reference, here is the original again and the link to the tutorial can be found in this post.

And here are my versions:

As you can see, I did one fast and dirty with the Pearl-Ex.  It's only OK, but since I was rushing through it, it leaves a lot to be desired.  It should also be fairly obvious that I did double thickness (two layers of the largest setting on my pasta machine) on this.  Since I was making these with an actual purpose, I knew I wanted things to be a little weightier.  The decor on the surface of the other pieces are from canes I made to match a dress that I have.  I am really bad at canes.  There will be tutorial posts on them so I can get better!

I also had a participant in this post who's surface decor came out so great!!  Check out Christina's work:

She writes, "I was not able to find pearl-x powders so I used some old eye shadow and I think they turned out great."  Great tip Christina!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Quick Bracelet Sets by Syndee Holt (due August 4)

Yay for the first tutorial (and keeping it really simple for this one)!  I have a wedding to go to next weekend and I am making my jewelry for the event.  I need a couple more bangles, and these are perfect-o!  The tutorial I am following can be found at:

Here is the final look of their version:

If you want your version posted along with mine, please email me your photo (and a small caption if you so desire) no later than Wednesday August, 4th at 6:00pm PST.  I'll update this post with results on Thursday the 5th!